Starting next month, the City of Edmonton will cut grass and trim weeds more often.
Beginning in July, the city will move to a two-week grass-cutting cycle. This means all grassy areas, including district parks, regular sports fields, boulevards and pocket parks will be maintained every 14 days.
Premier parks and sports fields will be mowed at least once a week, the city said. All turf will receive one cycle of grass and weed trimming around trees and objects per year and a continuation in weed control.
“It will take some time for crews to catch up on the deferred maintenance, however Edmontonians should notice an increase in mowing activity beginning in July,” said Gord Cebryk, deputy city manager of city operations.
“We are hopeful that these adjusted service levels will help alleviate some concerns as we continue to deliver our services with a significantly reduced workforce.”
The move comes after the city shifted to a 21-day grass-cutting cycle for the majority of city-owned green spaces to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Don Iveson has not been shy about saying Edmonton — along with many Canadian municipalities — is facing serious financial implications due to the pandemic.
The shift to the 21-day maintenance cycle left many fields filled with dandelions. In some parks, the grass was longer than 16 inches. Some Edmontonians even took grass-cutting into their own hands.
The city said the reduced maintenance led to a 140 per cent increase in calls to 311 related to natural areas, horticulture, turf, weeds and sports fields.
“We have heard the frustration from the public about turf maintenance and the appearance of our green spaces,” Cebryk said. “After ensuring we were able to make these improvements within our existing budgets, we are ready to make these adjustments responsibly and quickly.”
The 14-day maintenance cycle is still less frequent than normal summer operations in Edmonton, which usually see the grass cut every week. The city said it continues to “navigate service delivery during times of fiscal restraint.”
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